WOODS ‘N’ WATER: The days of pheasant, grouse and quail have arrived

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: The days of pheasant, grouse and quail have arrived


Are ya ready for another upland game hunting season? It begins tomorrow, Saturday, October 17, at 7 a.m.

Yes, you read that right: 7 a.m., not one-half hour before sunrise like it will be for the rest of the upland game season.

Heading up the choice game for opening day will be the gaudy ring-necked pheasant.

All hunters are reminded that for any kind of bird hunting they must have a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp ($28) as well as a firearms or archery hunting license.

But it is not just the pheasant that will be hunted tomorrow. Ruffed grouse are also fair game and they can be hunted from Oct. 17 to Nov. 30.

Chukar and Hungarian partridge season also opens tomorrow and will close on Dec. 30.

Also on the list of huntable game birds are quail. They may be hunted from Oct. 17 to Dec. 30.

Pheasant, quail, Chukar and Hungarian partridge all carry a daily bag limit of two, while the ruffed grouse is limited to one.

If quail is your quarry, your best bet would be to hunt one of the field trial areas like Flaherty/Mansfield or Sugarbrook.

Gray squirrels and cottontail rabbits are also on the list of huntable game animals for the Oct. 17 opening day, although the gray squirrels have been huntable since Sept. 1, with the season this year ending Dec. 31.

However, purchasing your 2021 hunting license will also extend the season for squirrels from Jan. 1 to Feb. 29, 2021.

With the many varied game hunting opportunities and the rapidly changing regulations, I strongly recommend getting the 2020 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and reading it thoroughly. Getting caught doing something illegally even though you did not mean to, and then saying. “I did not know” will not help you if stopped by a conservation officer.

For those new to the sport of hunting, the Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide is also a great source of where-to-hunt information. You may be amazed at some of the property that the state has open to various kinds of hunting.

Also, all upland game hunters MUST wear 400 inches of fluorescent orange when in the fields hunting. If you are a hiker going into the woods, this would e a good safety practice for you as well.

Education grants

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) will open its 2021 grants cycle for the George H.W. Bush Vamos a Pesca Education Fund by Oct. 31.

The grants will provide key funding to support local organizations nationwide in initiatives to engage Hispanic Americans in fishing, boating and conserving our waterways.

A record number of Hispanic Americans (4.4 million) participate in recreational fishing according to RBFF’s 2020 Special Report on Fishing. Despite this milestone, Hispanic Americans are still under-represented on the water. Hispanics make up 19 percent of the U.S. population, but only 9 percent of fishing participants.

“Especially in the midst of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, when people are spending more time outdoors than ever before, we’re excited to celebrate the record number of Hispanics enjoying fishing and boating in the U.S.,” said Stephanie Vatalaro, RNFF’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Vatalaro also said, “Fishing and boating have been shown in studies to contribute many wellness benefits, so it is essential to ensure equitable access to these activities. The water is open to everyone, and the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund grants are an important means of welcoming diverse newcomers to the fishing and boating community.”

The 2021 grant guidelines will be available for download by Oct. 31. Visit TakeMeFishing.org/EducationFund to learn more.

Wildlife report

Another black bear attack was reported in New Jersey. A black bear had to be euthanized after an attack on an 82-year-old man in the garage of his North Jersey home.

Fish and Wildlife workers trapped and dispatched the suspected problem bear that officials said had entered multiple homes the previous week and is believed to be the same one responsible for the attack.

According to the report, there were over 200 bear sightings around New Jersey in the first six months of this year, about a 90 percent increase from the same period last year.

Here in our area, various species of wildlife seem to becoming quite comfortable while moving about the suburbs. Another bobcat sighting was reported by a Reynolds Drive resident who said she saw the bobcat down at the end of her street.

I am still seeing turkeys and deer on Hicks Avenue on my way to the Meriden Dog Park. On a couple of our late afternoon drives we almost ran over a deer off Research Parkway and spotted a huge coyote in a field that usually has some deer in it.

The disturbing thing about the coyote sighting was the fact that it was up close and personal to some of the homes in the area.

He, if you see any wild critters give me a call at 203-634-3520. Stay safe while in the woods and don’t forget to wear that fluorescent (blaze) orange when out and about in our great outdoors.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving.

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